How to Hire the Right Person

A few weeks ago I listened to a presentation about the cost of losing an employee. This includes the cost of finding a replacement (such as the cost of interviewing and the advertising cost), as well as training and onboarding expenses for the new employee. Losing an employee also decreases productivity and it most likely affects the overall morale of the group. I was shocked to hear that the average total of all of these costs is equivalent to 20% of an employee’s salary. Minimum. That percentage can be up to 50% or even 100% for a high skilled manager or executive. Losing a 5-year person who makes $75,000 a year will most likely cost a company at least $15,000. Losing a 15-year person who makes $150,000 a year will most likely cost the company anywhere between $75,000 to $150,000, if not more.  There are a lot of reasons why a person quits or be terminated. But the #1 most important way to prevent high turnover in a company is to hire the right person from the start.

Over my 11 year career I have interviewed a lot of people. For the first five or so years of my career I was terrible at interviewing people.  I would ask them about their hobbies too much and I would paint a dream picture of the company I worked for. I hated the awkwardness of asking really tough questions so I would dodge them. And if someone said they liked dogs I would spend the rest of the interview talking about dogs and then I would hire them because they liked dogs. Not only did that result in failed hires, it was unfair to the person who was given a position that wasn’t right for them. After a decade of learning lessons the hard way I can confidently say that I am now really good at hiring the right person.

My requirements for hiring people might be different than yours. I hire business professionals, mainly accountants and business clerks. Of course the hierarchy of the position correlates to the expectations you should have for a person’s resume and for the interview. But the basic principles are the same for determining who is the right person. After reading this you might think I am too strict, but in the last 5 years I’ve only lost or had to terminate 1 person that I’ve hired. Strict equals success.

Resume and LinkedIn Profile – If there is more than one spelling error on their resume – denied. If their resume is more than 2 pages long – one strike. If they have jumped between companies more than 3 times within a period of 5 years – HUGE red flag (loyalty is very important to me). If they have no picture on LinkedIn – denied. If they have a selfie picture on LinkedIn – one strike. It’s not hard to get someone to take a nice picture for you.

Start of the Interview: If they reschedule or if they are late to the interview – denied (of course unless there is a really good explanation). Traffic is not an excuse. If a girl gives me a soft handshake – one strike. If a guy gives me a soft handshake – I get freaked out and then I think about the awkward handshake during the entire interview. Then I tell people about it. You almost can’t come back from a bad handshake, especially if you are a guy.  If a girl wears a low cut shirt – two strikes. If I can see a girls bra – two strikes. If a guy has a noticeable 5:00 shadow – two strikes. If their phone rings and they don’t look mortified – definitely on the chopping block.

Interview Questions: I never have a predetermined list of questions, but I always ask the candidate what their parents do for a living. If they didn’t have to work in high school or in college – one strike. If they don’t ask one single question – denied. If they keep asking questions on the same topic – on the chopping block. That means they aren’t on board with the position or your company and even if you explained it three more times it will most likely result in a future failed hire. If the person asks for too much or an embarrassing low number I don’t factor that into my decision. Salary is a number. Everyone grew up differently and has varying degrees of confidence to ask for a high salary. I will pay them at least market and if they don’t like it, so be it.

After the Interview: I never make an offer to a person unless someone else interviews them. If they receive an offer then they proceed to ask 142 questions about said offer – huge red flag. If they show up late to work within the first two weeks – goodbye. That was the 1 person in 5 years I was referring to. He lasted 6 days.

Most Important: I am 100% honest about the advantages and disadvantages of working for my company. This is the #1 way to ensure someone is a good fit. I tell them things that are so honest I sometimes wonder if I went to far. But it works.

Happy hiring and good luck!



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